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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Traditions and change

This will be me and Nick's first Christmas in our empty nest.
Our first one without any of our girls sleeping under our roof to wake up with us on Christmas morning.  Sigh.  Bittersweet for sure.  We are finding ourselves in a new season that brings lots of change.  Change is the opposite of tradition.  And one thing about us Holdens….
  We love traditions.
I grew up in a family who loved them and I've continued on many of them with my girls.
We have many.  Our High kick tradition.  Our porterville night….just to name a couple.

What makes traditions so special?  They evoke memories….moments in time that we can go back to in our hearts and minds that tie us together with those we love and hold dear.  I can't see a pack of silver tinsel…the kind that's in a box that are stringy individual strands… without it whisking me back to my childhood and our tradition of putting up the Christmas tree together. We always had real trees that my daddy cut down from the woods and decorating it was a big event.  Me and my brothers would throw the tinsel on it in clumps and be so proud of it.  I never understood how those clumps would magically spread out over the tree in perfect placement overnight as we slept. 

Traditions are the glue that keeps a family together.  Especially around the holidays.  They give us a reason to make family a priority on our calendars when the season gets so jammed packed with places to go and parties to attend…because it's what we've always done….I means, going over to Aunt Dot's for Christmas Eve gumbo is just how you do Christmas.  No questions asked. Right?
Well, I want my girls to look back on our holiday traditions with joy and fondness.
I  never want our traditions to become burdens and if I'm not careful, as a mom to three grown daughters, that is exactly what can happen.

You see, it is in my nature to want my girls and their husbands at my house for every event over the holidays. 

 To be here for Thanksgiving to sign my table runner each year.  And to be here the night we decorate the tree.  And to be here on Christmas Eve as we enjoy our annual crawfish ettouffe as we open gifts.  And to be here on Christmas day to chill out in our new pj's and look for the pickle on the tree.   And to be here on New Years Eve so we can bring in the new year together.  And to be here on New Year's day to eat black eyed peas and pork roast.    I would love for them to be here for everything. To have them in my nest just like it was when they were all three little girls.

But they're no longer little girls. 

They are grown up women who now have two families to celebrate the holidays with.  Double the blessing. Double the fun.  Double the celebrations.  And I  am so thankful for that.  I'm thankful all three girls have in-laws who are interested in their lives….who want to be a part of their lives.  And who also have traditions of their own.

So what does that mean for me and my traditions?
It means sometimes we make new ones if we have to.
It means being flexible.  It means not being bound to certain day of the year.

It means if the day we can all actually be together to gather around the table and offer up thanksgiving to the Lord for all He has blessed our family with doesn't happen to fall on the fourth thursday of November, then I'm ok with that.  If it means eating etoufee three days before christmas instead of christmas eve….that will be ok too.  If it means doing something entirely different all together…then bring it on!

I'm thankful for the work of grace the Lord has done in my heart to free me up!  I want to my girls to be freed up too….to be able to enjoy every second that we get together as a family during the holidays. Soaking each other up and time together.  And I want them to be able to have wonderful memories and traditions with the other side of the family too the Lord has given to them.  I value them so much….my girl's "other" families.  They are blessings to me and Nick  and we are so thankful for the way they love our daughters.

So when I got my ornament for this year from Lisa Leanord's Designs,
it couldn't be more perfect.

You see, this year my girls all have different last names.  
All three of them this Christmas will be a Mrs.

Mrs. Sirven
Mrs. Linton 
 Mrs. McMullen

But no matter what, they will always be a Holden.
And that is something that will never change.

Now wether or not they will be here the night I get to hang this lovely on the tree is unknown.
But through God's great grace at work in my heart, either way will be okay.
I pray as the holidays are approaching that you will let God work in your heart too.
To accept things that are new this year in your life that you know are gonna shake up your traditions that you so love and cherish…. Ask God to help you embrace the change instead of just enduring it.
I promise He won't disappoint you.

ps.  If you would like a beautiful keepsake ornament to commerate the work the Lord is doing in your heart, Lisa has been so generous to give a discount for y'all.   
Use the code VERYMERRY15   for a 15% discount in her shop.
 She has gorgeous jewelry too that all have meanings behind them along with a new line of prints and cards that are darling. She is a precious woman of God who loves to make Him known and cherishes her family with a fierce love.  Check out her blog and look her up on instagram,  I promise she will bless you. 


  1. While my boys are only 10 and 12, I already worry about not having them with us to celebrate everything. What a moving post and a lesson on how to learn to embrace the changes and be joyful about all the good in life.

  2. This is beautiful. ( I just shared it on my fb page.) I have prayed, since God made me a Mama, that I would have a heart that echoes your's here toward my traditions and that, when my five birds leave the nest, I would welcome the change as a gift. I am hanging on to this one or future reference. Thank you.

  3. I am mom to two boys, and although they are still very young, I find myself wondering what it will be like when they are grown and married...will we be able to hold onto our family traditions, and if so, how will it work? I pray my boys find great women, who come from great families (much like yours), who are "flexible" in their traditions, just as I hope to be in ours. Absolutely loved this post....thanks for sharing what is on your heart. Hope this holiday season brings much joy to you and yours!! And the ornament...think I'm gonna have to head over there and order one!

  4. You have no idea how much I needed to hear/read this. My nest is losing a very special chick this next month and being that I had her at a young age--I have very limited memory without her. I don't want an empty nest--thank goodness she has a little brother that will be around for a few more years before he too flies the coop. Everything you said hit so close to home.. You are so inspiring and even though I have never commented before--I adores your blog and your genuiness... SO thank you!

  5. You have so much beauty and grace! This really moved me, because I've seen how hard it is for my mom to go through these changes.It's not easy. It's been a struggle for me too having in laws who do things differently than my family does, but thankfully I can say too the Lord has given me the grace this year to change my attitude and to have a different outlook!

  6. That is one of the best and most meaningful posts that i have read on blogs to date. Really spoke to my heart.

  7. This post really spoke to my heart Stephanie. We have one daughter and I cry when I think of her not living in this house someday. My entire life revolves around her (as does my husband's). We adore her. So I started to pray for her future husband - even though she is 12. I pray that her in laws will adore her and include her and perhaps include my husband and I . I pray that her husband fits into our family like a son and that we all become a extension of family. I pray that her husband loves her and remembers that her Mama needs her around for Christmas, Thanksgiving, her birthday, and every other day of the year. I pray that she carries God in her heart on her journey. I am praying that your new traditions are as fun as the old ones. If you lived close by, we would have you over for game night(: I would love that. Blessings my friend. Susan

  8. This will be an interesting year for y'all, for sure. We've learned to go with the flow. My daughter spends one holiday with her in-laws and the other with us. They switch every year. As long as I get to see them sometime during the holidays I"m OK with that. Ethan has at least 6 more years living at home and I'm soaking up every single minute. I know you're going to have a wonderful time no matter what.

  9. Such good words and thoughts. Probably takes a weight off your girls to read this. It's hard waters for all sides to navigate, but words like this would make it much easier. I am probably closer to your age but in the same situation as your daughters - married just a few years, two little ones. Especially holidays can be difficult. It's more than just the words from one family saying it's ok to miss a tradition, but also the attitude. So special that you've put yourself in their shoes and freed them up instead of weighing them down. I sure hope you get to add special moments as your family grows.

  10. I love your heart friend. Got a little choked up thinking about my own girls not being here for all those things someday. Geesh change is hard, but He will give us the grace for those things when we need them. Being flexible is so good. Those boys sure got some sweet in-laws.

  11. I know that someday I will be dealing with the empty nest here too. I am dreading it trying desperately to slow time down. I know I cannot expect them to be here every holiday but I just pray they will be close so I can see them on days that well, aren't holidays.

    As soon as you mentioned the word tinsel I remembered throwing the tinsel on the tree with my sister and same thing in my house the tinsel would be perfectly draped the next morning. It drove my mom nuts if the tinsel wasn't just right. But really you couldn't even see the tree under our tinsel ahhhh the good ole days! :-)

    I am so happy I have come across your blog it warms my heart and soul.


  12. Praying for you this season as you let them go and embrace your new nest!

  13. uggghhh. this was great. your so I can't stand kindergarten...I can't imagine when they move out. Love you heart and you are such a godly example of what a mama should be!!

  14. Oh, Stephani, what a beautiful post and yes, it is difficult to share but it's something we MUST do. I'm with you, it doesn't matter when you celebrate, just so you can all be together. We will be celebrating Christmas on the 27th this year as it is as soon as our daughter can come. Another beautiful post!


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